Jeff Merkley

Most 2020 Democratic candidates opposed spending bill
Booker, Harris, Gillibrand and Warren voted no, while Klobuchar voted yes

Gillibrand and her liberal colleagues in the Senate who are running for president opposed the spending bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democrats eyeing the White House split their vote Thursday on the compromise spending package that would avert another government shutdown, with nearly all the candidates who have already announced bids voting against it.

The Senate overwhelmingly adopted the conference report, 83-16, but five Democrats, including four presidential contenders — Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Kamala Harris of California and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts — joined 11 Republicans in voting ‘no.’

House progressives work on ‘Medicare-for-all’ as debate heats up
The House bill from Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., will have at least 100 initial co-sponsors

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., arrives for a meeting of the House Democratic Caucus in the Capitol on Nov. 15, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House progressives are set to introduce a revised single-payer “Medicare-for-all” bill during the last week of this month, as Republicans sharpen their criticism of the policy and Democratic presidential hopefuls face questions about whether they support it.

The House bill from Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., will have at least 100 initial co-sponsors. It comes as Democrats are offering a range of bills to expand health insurance coverage, such as a proposal to allow adults between 50 and 64 to buy into Medicare that was unveiled Wednesday, and presidential candidates refine their positions on what “Medicare-for-all” should mean and the role private insurers would play.

Democrats could stymie nuclear arms race after US leaves pact
2020 presidential hopefuls have already thrown support behind legislative efforts

Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley has introduced legislation that would prohibit funding for the flight-testing, acquisition and deployment of U.S. ground-launched ballistic missiles with ranges banned by the INF treaty. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congress can do little to halt the U.S. withdrawal from a nuclear arms control treaty with Russia, if President Donald Trump is determined to do so. But Democrats could have opportunities to shape and even block the administration’s plans to build up the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

Earlier this month, the White House announced it would leave the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in six months. The Kremlin quickly responded that it too would cease honoring its arms control commitments under the accord, though the United States and NATO have long accused Russia of already violating the treaty by deploying an intermediate-range, ground-launched cruise missile.

Washington mourns former Rep. John Dingell
Former presidents, colleagues in Congress share tributes to the Detroit Democrat

Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., attends a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center in 2011 to recognize the 46th anniversary of Medicare. (Tom Williams/Roll Call file photo)

The longest-serving member of Congress in history, Rep. John Dingell made an indelible impact on Capitol Hill, the nation’s laws and those who served with him. 

“John Dingell's life reminds us that change does not always come in a flash, but instead with a steady, determined effort,” former President Barack Obama said.

How the 2020 Democrats reacted to Trump’s State of the Union address
Gabbard spent most of it on her phone, Sanders was editing his response

President Donald Trump and others in the House chamber applaud during his State of the Union address Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard was one of the few Democrats to sit next to a Republican during the State of the Union address Tuesday night, but she spent much of it on her phone. Sen. Bernie Sanders, pen in hand, reviewed and edited the prepared text of his response during the first part of the speech. Rep. Tim Ryan stood in the back looking bored most of the time.

The rest of the Democratic lawmakers running or considering bids for president in 2020 paid more attention to President Donald Trump as he spoke but often sat stone-faced in reaction to his assertions and promises.

Democrats are tweaking Trump with their State of the Union guests
Federal contractors, mothers separated from their children at the border are on the list

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-New Jersey, will be accompanied to the State of the Union by Victorina Morales, an undocumented immigrant who worked as a housekeeper at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The floor belongs to Donald Trump for around an hour, maybe more, but the crowd can still speak volumes.

The lawmakers squeezed into the House chamber on Tuesday night probably won’t be yelling back as the president tells them that the state of the union is strong. (Joe Wilson, of “You lie” fame, already tried that with Barack Obama.)

Guest list: Here’s who you’ll see at the State of the Union
Cardi B won’t be there, but undocumented worker who worked at Trump’s golf club will

President Donald Trump will deliver the State of the Union Address on Tuesday. Two of his former housekeepers will look on from the House chamber. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump will deliver his second State of the Union address Tuesday night. Two of his former housekeepers, both immigrants, will watch from the House chamber.

Each member of Congress gets at least one ticket for a guest, and though some bring family members, many are accompanied by a constituent whose story helps illustrate a policy priority.

Jeff Merkley requests FBI perjury investigation into Kirstjen Nielsen
At issue is testimony before Congress about family separations at border

Sen. Jeff Merkley is requesting that the FBI open a perjury investigation into Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Jeff Merkley is requesting that the FBI open a perjury investigation into Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, based on testimony she gave to Congress in December on family separations at the southern border.

Testifying before the House Judiciary Committee in December, Nielsen stated “I’m not a liar, we’ve never had a policy for family separation.”

Just what have Pence, Democratic aides been discussing as shutdown plods on?
Sides bickered through weekend, do not plan to meet again

Vice President Mike Pence led talks between Trump administration officials over the weekend about a potential deal to reopen shuttered parts of the federal government amid a partial shutdown that started over two weeks ago. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump keeps demanding more money for his southern border wall. Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Democrats will give him “nothing for the wall.” Neither side reported major progress during five hours of weekend talks about ending a partial government shutdown. So just what were Vice President Mike Pence and senior congressional aides even discussing?

Senior Democratic sources on Saturday evening, after talks lasted about two-and-a-half hours that day, said their representatives at the negotiations again rejected Trump’s demand for $5.6 billion for a U.S.-Mexico border barrier. A few hours later, the president — despite saying repeatedly recently he’s trying to give Democrats an out by calling the structure anything but a wall — posted a curious tweet.

Capitol Christmas Tree Glows After Delay in Honor of Bush
Speaker Paul Ryan lights up the ‘People’s Tree’ for his fourth and final time

The Capitol Christmas tree is seen alongside the Capitol Dome after the official lighting in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. (Jerel Flint/CQ Roll Call)

As Speaker Paul D. Ryan flipped the Christmas switch for the last time on Thursday, he paid tribute to a man he called a “beacon of joy.”

“This is my fourth and final time leading this event, and each time the tree is more stunning,” Ryan said before lighting the Capitol Christmas tree.